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"Track" Workouts on Trail vs. Track (Read 95 times)

Julia1971


    Just curious if anyone thinks there's a benefit to doing interval workouts on the track vs. a multi-use trail.  My local high school track is so crowded that I abandoned it in favor of the multi-use trail a couple years ago.  And, I started doing marathons so I was only doing one interval workout a week at most.  I'm planning to switch focus on shorter distances this spring and summer, which will probably mean more interval workouts.  I'm wondering if I'm missing anything by not running intervals on the track.

     

    FWIW, using the Garmin on the trail has mostly been fine.  The only real annoyances have been a) the need to find uninterrupted sections of the trail for longer intervals, b) the variation in terrain means the paces read "slow" on hillier sections, and c) my Garmin didn't like intervals based on time rather than distance - the pace would go all wonky.

    The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Chinese Proverb


    Obligatory runner.

      I don't think it matters. If pace is slower on hilly sections, I try to keep effort the same. The one advantage of the track is the mental strength training as you struggle not to quit in the face of sheer boredom...

        If it is a tough workout with short intervals, it helps me to have a visual marker for where the finish of that interval is going to be.

         

        Instead of moving to the track, I've added some visual markers for where my standard intervals end for the dirt roads that I run on.  Basically 1/4 mile increments on a 2 mile stretch that I go back and forth on.  A big stick here, a big rock there, etc.  They aren't perfect, and I still go based on where my GPS tells me to start and stop the interval which can be 5 or 10 yards off the marker, but just running on a long stretch of road with no idea when the interval will stop was tough for me on the shorter intervals.  Once I got to the 1 milers and above I don't have that issue.  I think on the longer intervals it would be tough to keep track of how many times you've run around the track and boredom woutd be a big issue.

        Age: 46 Weight: 208 Height: 6'2" (Goal weight 195)

        Current PR's:  Mara 3:48:09; HM 1:43:26; 10K 44:51; 5K 21:27

          It doesn't matter. The only case where it might make a difference is if you're actually training for a track race.

          Runners run.

            1 minute hard/1 minute easy or 2 minutes hard/2 minutes easy are both very stimulative trail workouts.  Plus you get to warm up and cool down on trails.  All you need is a $15 Timex with countdown timer -- footwear and clothing are optional for the true minimalist.

            2013 H1:  7 hours/week base.  Q3: Train for goal race.  Q4:  Goal Race.

              If it is a tough workout with short intervals, it helps me to have a visual marker for where the finish of that interval is going to be.

               

              Instead of moving to the track, I've added some visual markers for where my standard intervals end for the dirt roads that I run on.  Basically 1/4 mile increments on a 2 mile stretch that I go back and forth on.  A big stick here, a big rock there, etc.  They aren't perfect, and I still go based on where my GPS tells me to start and stop the interval which can be 5 or 10 yards off the marker, but just running on a long stretch of road with no idea when the interval will stop was tough for me on the shorter intervals.  Once I got to the 1 milers and above I don't have that issue.  I think on the longer intervals it would be tough to keep track of how many times you've run around the track and boredom woutd be a big issue.

               

              This is why I like the multi-use trail better for interals.  I find it mentally tougher than the track as you have no visual clues to let you know when the pain is about to end.  On the bike path you just have to gut it out until the watch beeps.  I think it's better prep for road racing.

                I think it just comes down to the effort.     I mix things up all the time & LOVE running trails + I really think that hard efforts on trails gives you a much better balance of working different muscles/tendons/ligaments as well having  more concentrated work on stability/balance.  different surfaces/different footing.  some of my best trail w/o's are running hard efforts on the hills & coasting back down the other side.  practicing on stability/balance/proper form & technique.

                 

                on the other hand I'm not an elite athelete/runner & probably don't know what I'm talking about.

                  There's some specificity issues. I (old, slow) use whatever provides the stimulus I'm looking for. Since I don't like to deal with the hwy crossings to get to hs track then potential for other people when I get there, I use the nearby soccer field complex where I don't have to deal with other people and loose dogs aren't an issue.  Depending upon grass height (mowing isn't that great), snow conditions, what I should be doing that day, I pick landmarks (maybe a downed branch or edge of bleachers, making sure I use an exact edge) that are about the right duration apart. (I used to use the abandoned railroad bed, but if the weather's decent, loose dogs and strollers are an issue. When it's cold or rainy, other traffic isn't an issue.)

                   

                  Faster stuff (<3-5min)  I usually do around the soccer fields or on part of wide gravel path on a big hill or paved bike path. Things closer to 15min are usually on dirt trails (single track or ski), but if I wanted a "tempo" at constant pace (rather than constant effort), that would be on paved bike path (no intersections and beautiful view of river and mountains). I just go by time and intensity.

                   

                  I do not do track-type workouts on my agility trail routes. Smile  There's a time and place for everything.

                   

                  I only race on trails (with some road segments), and training on a track may give a really false sense of speed.

                  "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog